Monday, 16 December 2013

Low Budget Remote Solar Powered Computer Controlled Sensor

I got interested in having a sensor at the bottom of my garden, sending things like wind speed, temp, etc. wirelessly to a logger.

Yes I know that if I spent a few hundred bucks I could have a weather station that does that and more , but where's the challenge in that?

Particularly when I found without too much googling that a fellow kiwi, Stan Swan, had sussed it all out quite a while ago, using a picaxe single chip computer and cheap chinese parts .

I soon realised that this clever little chip would lend itself to solar power rather well, and that those cheap-as-chips chinese solar-powered garden lights would be just the ticket.

Mods to the garden lights were simple; The lights were in the form of a twist-off self-contained solar unit above the redundant lens / garden stake. Snip off the (unnecessary but potentially handy ) bright LEDs, slide two wires for external connection thru the vacant hole and solder to the terminals of the 1.2v nicad that powers the unit. wire in series, and bingo - 3.8v of self-contained power.

In my next post I'll detail the Picaxe / ASK wireless work , with as-built code and diagrams; but if I am delayed, be assured that Stan's docs have it all in there, and it works.

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